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  Marvin Gaye Park & the Down By the Riverside Campaign

A Partnership of the DC government, non-profit organizations, and the Watts Branch Stream Valley.

2001-2011 Accomplishments:


    • Leveraged $30 million in new public and private funding
    • Mobilized over 500 job trainees and 60,000 volunteers
    • Created new jobs in the park, with many more coming in the revitalization
    • Removed 3000 tires, 14,000 hypodermic needles, & 55,000 bags of garbage
    • Towed 95 abandoned cars and trucks
    • Hauled out over 6,000,000 pounds of bulk trash and debris
    • Cleaned up dozens of old dump and clean-up piles
    • Cleared and reopened 2 miles of trail, stream, and stream bank
    • Removed thousands of exotic invasive plants choking the ecosystem
    • Planted 2000 native trees and shrubs
    • Dramatically reduced crime and improved park safety
    • Created Marvin Gaye Amphitheater on what was previously the most violent site in the park
    • Produced Unity Arts Series (art, dance, drumming, talent)
    • Launched Watts Branch Community Alliance and advisory council
    • Opened community park headquarters at the old Barnett's Café and Crystal Lounge, now renamed Riverside Center
    • Addressed over 100 public meetings and 250 classes about Watts Branch
    • Held rallies and galvanized thousands of supporters for Ten-Point Call to Action
    • Briefed city and federal officials at 18 agencies, City Council, & Mayor's Cabinet on needed actions
    • Held community press conferences together with city agencies and partners
    • Stopped sewage leaks at numerous sites along stream
    • Documented Watts Branch improvements with thousands of photographs and dozens of taped and videotaped interviews; mounted public photograph installation celebrating the park and its renewal
    • Launched new youth park mapping project with National Geographic
    • Sponsored youth programs such as classes, parades, Bike Rodeos, Health Fairs, Fun Runs, Field Days, Nature Walks, Talent Shows, Concerts, and more.
    • Started outdoor film and music programs at Heritage Green
    • Started Farm Market with fresh locally grown produce
    • Won designation as one of ten 21st Century American Heritage Parks
    • Won Helping Hands Award from the National Congress for Community Economic Development
    • Apprehended illegal dumpers and blocked further dumping at most sections of park by installing hundreds of bollards along the edge of the park
    • Launched Heart & Soul health and fitness park program



The park and campaign has garnered extensive media coverage:

  • East of the River Magazine        
  • BBC Radio
    • Channel 16
  • Fox Morning News
    • News Channel 4
  • USA Weekend
    • District Chronicles
  • WAMU/ Public Interest
    • WJLA Channel 7 News
  • News Channel 8
    • WUSA Channel 9
  • Washington Post Style Section
    • Washington Post Magazine
  • Washington City Paper
    • Maryland Public Radio
  • Black Entertainment Television

  • Read about the campaign's history as well as articles detailing its revitalization. You may also view the Marvin Gaye Park Photo Gallery or a watercolor map of the entire stream-valley. Or find out more about the Riverside Center.

    To join the campaign, contact us online
    or call Washington Parks & People at 202-GO-2-PARK (202-462-7275).